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Where Will He Live? (Updated)

May 31, 2010

This matter will surelly be resolved sooner rather than later.

With the proclamation of Senator Noynoy Aquino as the Republic’s 15th President just days away, and his inauguration at high noon of June 3o, the matter of where the bachelor Chief Executive will live is of utmost importance.

Factor in the following:
1.    The President’s ceremonial functions as Head of State and Head of Government;
2.    His status as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces;
3.    The constitutional mandate the President will have an Official Residence
4.    His personal security and its direct relationship to national security.

I may be missing other element here but the foregoing alone are enough to underscore that the idea of Mr. Aquino simply renting a condominium or staying at the Aquino residence at No. 26 Times Street in Quezon City are no-nos.

Staying as Times Street was also thought of during his mother’s time but security considerations become the foremost factor that went into the decision to house President Cory at the Arlegui Premier State Guest House.

The stately structure had been rented and maintained by the government since the time of President Ferdinand E. Marcos .

You may not believe it but sources have told this writer that Arlegui was rented for a paltry PhP 20,000 during the Marcos era and it was just some time ago that the owner of the building regained control of the property after a lengthy litigation.

Methinks it will not be a problem to negotiate a new lease on Arlegui given the immense prestige that it continues to enjoy, having been used by both Presidents Cory Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos.

It is worth noting that during the abbreviated presidency of Mr. Joseph Ejercito Estrada, he stayed at the white executive building within the Malacan grounds but was known to regularly sleep over at his Greenhills, San Juan City residence.

We believe President Noynoy Aquino will decide in the national interest.

Both tradition and contemporary history say so.

Update

Interesting facts about the prospective official residence of the incoming President have come out:

Before martial law, it was owned and occupied by the Laperal family, but it was seized from them by the late Ferdinand Marcos.

In 2007, the Supreme Court returned ownership of Arlegui to the Laperals, and ordered Malacañang to pay back rentals equal to P20,000 a month to them.

The Palace continues to rent Arlegui, but has not yet settled all the back rentals.

The current lease will expire on June 30, and the new administration will have to negotiate a new contract with the Laperals if it wants to occupy the place.

In its decision, the high tribunal ordered Malacañang to vacate the “Arlegui Residence” and to pay its owner, Tarcila Laperal Mendoza, P8 million in rentals dating back from 1975 when members of the Presidential Security Group ordered her to vacate the property and turn over the title to the Palace.

The 4,924.6-sqm property on Arlegui Street in San Miguel, Manila, served as the Presidential Guest House under Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos. It has also been occupied by the Office of the Press Secretary and the News Information Bureau.

In ordering Malacañang to leave, the high court’s First Division upheld a Manila court’s ruling on Aug. 27, 2003, declaring Tarcila Laperal Mendoza as the property’s real owner.

The Court also ordered the government to pay an additional interest of 6 percent a year on the total amount due on the property until it is fully paid, and to pay Mendoza’s attorney’s fees equivalent to 15 percent of the amount due her.

The Arroyo Presidential Management Staff showed newsmen renovation work now being done at Arlegui, saying it it also offering the building for use by the Aquino transition team.

How ‘generous’ of GMA.


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